Times and Sorensens

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our Latest Walker!

That's right, we have a new walker in the family!  This is the fourth time we've had this experience and it's such a fun thing, each and every time.  Caden is our latest walker in that he is the most recent but also he is the oldest at 14 months.  Here's the breakdown of when each of our boys started walking:

Joshua: 12 1/2 months
Daniel: 10 months
Lucas 10 months
Caden: 14 months

Since the two before him started walking early it made this seem late, but honestly I wasn't in any kind of a hurry.  The crawling stage is so adorable and once it's done it's done and they never go back.  I've been enjoying Caden's crawling for all its worth.

He's been tentatively toddling around for a little while now, but I would say in the last day or two he has finally gotten serious about it.  It seems that he's now adopted walking as his main method of getting around and chooses it over crawling.  I guess his DNA or whatever it is let him know it was time to get down to business!

We're so proud of Caden and appreciate his efforts in reaching this important milestone.  We all just adore this little guy.  His big brothers have been behind him all the way, cheering him on and celebrating him in this undertaking.  They are so so supportive and it warms my heart to no end.  

Call me a sentimental mom, but I see a real foundation laid for these boys to be a source of support and brotherhood for each other throughout their lives.  There is something very special about their getting to be four brothers together, in two sets of two, even, with how the timing worked out.  It is incredibly important to me that I do all I can to foster and encourage these special relationships to help them grow into what they can and should be.

Okay, now I'm making myself all teary-eyed so I'll stop there.  Hooray for Caden walking!  Hooray for our boys!

He actually mugged for the camera for the first time during this  little photo shoot!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our 12th on the 12th!

Jake and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary on the 12th of May.  It's a meaningful year for us since we have now reached the point where we have been in each others lives for the same amount of time as before we met and knew the other existed -- seventeen years!  From here on out we'll have known each other for longer than we haven't.  I really like that thought.

To celebrate we had tickets to Oregon Symphony.  We took advantage back in February of a "Leap Day Special" $29 tickets on the 29th for any performance left in the season.  It just so happened a guest pianist was scheduled to perform Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, just for us on our anniversary :).  I'm glad we got tickets so early because the anticipation was fun -- it's always great having something classy to look forward to!

I'm afraid we have been completely spoiled since we had seats in the 6th row (thanks to that special) and I can't believe what a difference it makes.  We were so close I could see Arnoldo Cohen's hands reflected in the piano's lid; it was a sight to behold.  He was amazing as was the orchestra.

We were right in front of the viola section and it turns out our babysitter (who was at that moment home with our kids) takes lessons from the principal violist.  She told us just before we left she thought he had a few solos during the performance.  Indeed he did, two or three, which earned him a handshake from the conductor and some applause all his own.

We also saw the cellist we had seen perform as a soloist with Beaverton Symphony back in March (he's a Beaverton native).  I also saw the principal flutist the newspaper had done a huge spread on last month, when she was hired as Oregon Symphony's youngest principal player in 25 years.  She is only 22 and apparently a killer talent.

It was fun to see these musicians that have local connections.  It gives Oregon Symphony a community flavor for me, even as their star is rising on the national scene (their debut at Carnegie Hall last May generated lots of very positive attention).  Apparently the New York Times agrees with me in attributing this success to their conductor Carlos Kalmar.  He is phenomenal and quite the character.

Alright, enough about the symphony.  I could go on and on we had such a fabulous time.  Anyway, when we got home late that night we were very surprised to be greeted with cheerful, celebratory decorations!  Remember how I mentioned our babysitter (and violist extraordinaire) was at home with our kids?  Well, she enlisted everyone's help and created a homecoming fit for a couple celebrating their 12th Anniversary on the 12th!

Yes, that is Lucas on the couch watching Little Einstein's...with festive streamers over his cute little head!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Father/Son Camp out 2012

The annual father/son camp out was a week ago last week-end and I wanted to get pictures up on the blog.  I feel bad because Jake got razzed a little for bringing the camera along.  It didn't occur to me when I made him bring it that it's not a very "guy" thing to do.  It's alright, he was able to blame it on me and got bonus points for doing it for the Missus.  In any case, I really appreciate Jake's being a good sport about it and now we have some fun pictures!

 It was a memorable year, with Lucas getting to tag along for the first time.  It was a tricky spot for Jake since Lucas was probably a year younger than he "should" have been to go.  At the same time he's old enough to be very aware of what's going on and be super sad about getting left out.  So Jake made the sacrifice and brought him along.  It sounds like Lucas had an absolute blast and "only" ran off to play at the pond by himself once (oy!).

Joshua and Daniel declared they had had the time of their lives and I believe them.  They come back saying that pretty much every year.  Jake says they spent the vast majority of the time with "le cadre" and I am so thankful that there are so many boys their age to hang with.

Jake spent most of his time keeping an eye on Lucas but it sounds like he had plenty of opportunity to hang with the other dads too.  And most importantly he had time to make and pass around his specialty, cookie s'mores.

This year they got to go with the father/son duo of a family we're good friends with.  They all piled into their suburban and headed up together.  That's who's cool trailer tent that is, too.  I think the adults + Lucas slept in there and the then there was an "older kids" tent. 

Hooray for great weather over the father/son week-end 4 years running now!  Here's 'til next year!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Joshua's violin teacher has been having him do some exercises in preparation for vibrato since about the beginning of the year, and in the last few weeks she's been having him actually apply the technique to some of his simpler pieces.  I'm very pleased to report that there are some nice sounds coming from his violin!

The main thing here is that he is willing to do it.  I have seen several of his teacher's students dig in their heels at vibrato and basically fail to make much progress in this area.  I think it's because it is a new skill that doesn't feel natural and to be honest, doesn't sound very good up front.  In fact, after Joshua's first go his teacher made a comment, something about it sounding like a UFO landing down to earth,  but don't worry.  If you knew his teacher you'd know she could get away with saying that.

I think Joshua's at somewhat of a sweet spot, where he's young enough that self-consciousness doesn't get in the way and bless his heart, he is willing and eager.  During his practice I am basically acting like it's just the most natural thing, like why wouldn't he practice his vibrato?  It's just the next natural step in his progression.  So far so good, I really never want to be a pushy stage mom, that's not why we're doing this.  But at the same time I don't want him to feel like this is optional or that he only has to develop his technique half-way.

I have found it to be a delicate dance between parent and child with these things.  Joshua and I are both learning so much along the way not only about music but also about our relationship and such.  Valuable stuff to be sure.  It brings to mind what Jake said so wisely during a recent (unrelated) conversation; how they (our kids) feel about doing things is not to be discounted.

Anyway, I just wanted to record this here on the blog.  It will help for my own point of reference to know about when Daniel* (and any future Sorensen violinists) may be ready for this.  It may seem a small thing, but it is significant to me.  It marks real progress and maturity in Joshua and I just wanted to share in case anyone else wanted to be proud of him too!

*  I'm excited for Daniel since lefties have a natural advantage in developing their vibrato (it's done with their dominant hand and all).